Passage Comes Days After Ohio EPA Issued Toxic Algae Warnings in Parts of State
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) applauded the House passage of his legislation, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013. This legislation, authored by Portman and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) would reauthorize the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, which was first enacted in 1998 and reauthorized in 2004 and 2008 (16 U.S.C. 1451 note). For over a decade this program has served as the federal government’s research and response framework for harmful algal blooms.
“This legislation takes critical steps toward protecting Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys from harmful algae that has become a tremendous problem for fresh water bodies in our state,” said Portman. “As families and businesses across Ohio continue to live in a time of economic uncertainty, we cannot afford to let this threaten our tourism and fishing industries. I’m pleased the House passed this bill and I urge my Senate colleagues to support final passage.”
Portman’s bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly in the Senate in February of 2014 and the House yesterday. Just recently, the Ohio EPA issued toxic algae warnings for Buckeye Lake in Columbus. This is the 4th consecutive summer that toxic algae warnings have been issued for Buckeye Lake. $700,000 has been spent by Ohio EPA over the last four years on efforts to reduce algae blooms at Buckeye Lake. In 2013, the city of Toledo was forced to spend $3 million to protect the city's water supply from Lake Erie's toxic algae and Columbus spent $723,000 to address an algae outbreak at Hoover Reservoir. It costs the city of Celina $450,000 annually to combat algae in Grand Lakes St. Marys. According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report, U.S. seafood and tourism industries suffer annual losses of $82 million due to economic impacts of HABs.